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Anyone ever made a mini cookbook?

I need to stay up late more often. These ideas just come to me. Has anyone ever made or received a mini homemade cookbook from a friend?

Let's say I get a printing company (shutterfly or something similar) to print up 10 or 12 page booklets for my wedding as favors for the guests, and set one book on each place setting. When the guests sit down and open the book, they will see:

Page 1: a few words of thanks for being there to celebrate
Page 2 (facing page): program of the evening's events (that's like three lines: eat, watch ceremony, clap, eat, dance, eat more, eat some more, interspersed by drinking).

Page 3: Her favorite cocktail
Page 4: His favorite cocktail

Page 5: Her favorite appetizer
Page 6: His favorite appetizer

Page 7: Her favorite entree
Page 8: His favorite entree

Page 9: Her favorite dessert
Page 10: His favorite dessert

Pages 11-12: our favorite all-day, very involved, long project to cook together

Back page: something heartfelt about how we both love our family, friends and our food.

The book would be interspersed with close up shots of some of our favorite dishes, which friends will recognize from parties, and maybe a shot or two of the two of us goofing off in the kitchen. I would also choose recipes that reflect how the two recipes in each section might be very different from each other they still complement each other (cheesiness alert: just like we do!).

My sister just gave me the idea that some dishes can be things that are being served at the wedding, and the drinks could be our signature drinks if we decide to have them.

Do you think people would enjoy this? Really think hard and be honest about whether a crowd of mostly people who don't care as much as we do about food would find this gift desireable. Alternatives are: set of ceramic measuring spoons, silver pear shaped salt and pepper shakers (pears are good luck), good chocolates, or a candy buffet. I'm also trying to keep things under $3 a piece.


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  1. I have made a mini-cookbook before. I Kinko-copied it. The cookbook ended up being cute, but I don't know if people kept their copy or threw it away.

    I like the silver pear-shaped salt and pepper shaker idea.

    A friend recently gave another friend an apron with a cute "recipe for love" attached. It said something like, "One cup of caring, one cup of respect.... a dash of orange zest. Mix and enjoy." It was a little longer than that, but it was very cute.

    1 Reply
    1. re: katkoupai

      That apron idea is too cute for words. If only I knew how to embroider as well--I just barely figured out how to sew! It could easily be personalized so the dashes of this and that are inside jokes too.

    2. I LOVE THE IDEA!!! I would keep this and hopefully use it!!! It is very personal and I think a wedding favor should be it is more memorable!!! Most memorable wedding favor to date for me is a simple box filled with chocolate covered espresso beans and a little note of how the couple met at a coffee shop!!! I ate the beans but remember how cute it was!!

      1. "A printing company" ... nah, you're talking money.

        You can do this with simple desktop-publishing software, maybe even just with a word processor - I Googled "making a booklet" "desktop publishing" and came up with this suggestion online: http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch...

        Use your "scrapbooking" skills to decorate, perhaps, or just let your imagination fly - or enlist a skilled friend to advise (not to do it FOR you, right?


        I think people would really love this - it's sweet, creative, and very personal - touching, really. Great idea!

        1 Reply
        1. re: wayne keyser

          You could design it on your computer - though I find Word and 'simple desktop-publishing software' like trying to thread a needle wearing boxing gloves in comparison to Adobe InDesign - and print the pages out back and front and use some kind of spiral binding. www.istockphoto has loads of vector images that are inexpensive to download.

        2. I posted on the Home Cooking board but have the feeling it'll get deleted so I'll repeat it here. If you want to do the work, an accordion book would be really inexpensive. On one side of the book, you could do all the favorite "his", the other side "hers". You can print the recipes off your computer on nice paper and cut and paste into the book. A really cool effect for some photographs would be to photocopy b/w onto vellum (the cheap stuff you get from scrapbooks, not the real stuff).


          You know what would be fun for a minicookbook? Use a CD cover (you can buy a lot of them and it's fairly cheap). Design a cover for it. Have the recipes printed in that square shape which you can do yourself (maybe "his" on one side, "hers" on the other). Laminated would be great but might cost more than you'd want to spend. Tuck the recipes into the CD case. When you open the CD case all the way, it's like a stand to hold the recipe upright when you're using it. Like this:


          2 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            I have made mini cookbooks for a few friends as extra gifts at Christmas. Although I found at a Dollar store little photo books with 4 x 6 size-just slipped out their covers and made my own off computer. Did recipe cards for 4 x 6 size-but could easily add in photos also in the slots. The "brag" book with all clear sleeves work great! Have also done easel style photo books that stand up to put in recipes-which are are very handy to use. (Found the 4 x 6 size on internet) Hope this helps-sorta an easy -low cost way---

            1. re: dklipscomb

              Walmart also has little "brag" book photo album sizes that are inexpensive. I've made cookbooks and souvenier books for gifts with them.

          2. What an unbelievably cool idea! I think the booklet would be enjoyed by cooks and non-cooks alike. Anybody can give out salt and pepper shakers, but a minicookbood is creative and personal. Love the idea of including pictures of the two of you goofing off in the kitchen. Expect many imitations! I am also very impressed with all of the great advice on how to manufacture the booklet. Talented group!

            1 Reply
            1. re: chefbeth

              The cd case idea is BRILLIANT! You could print out on a light card stock, there's so much cool stuff out there.

            2. I did this as the favors for my wedding. We did it ourselves on our PC - used heavier bond paper for the cover. The recipes were all taken from the food we served at the reception (I catered my own wedding - don't ask!). We also included quotes about food and love. People loved it and applauded our creativity (or so they told us).

              1. Of the various ideas you're considering, I think this is far and away the best. I truly think that even "a crowd of mostly people who don't care as much as we do about food" would find this a charming and memorable favor, and some of them might even try a recipe or two!

                1. I love the idea, but i have a couple of "buts" to throw out there. I question if you have pics of some friends and not others, will some people feel left out? I also wonder if it's too much work for you -- after all, you are planning your wedding and this sounds like a big project. I am not a big fan of party favors for guests at weddings--I just don't think it's necessary -- but if you decide NOT to do the cookbooksI, but you want to do something, then I think something edible is always nice. Hope that helps. Most important, congratulations/best wishes on your upcoming wedding.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bite Me

                    Thanks! I'm definitely still 50/50 on this idea for the wedding. It's a lot of time/cost, but even if I don't use it now I want to have the idea on hand for holidays and such.

                    Trust me, I hear you on wedding favors not being required. We're debating favors vs. candy table now (have to ask if the venue will have a problem with us bringing in candy for a candy buffet).

                    And the photos would just be us or us and family, so no jealousies to stir up there!

                  2. My wife and I did that for our wedding. We had parchment style paper bound with ribbon. Instead of our favorite recipes, it was recipes that were meaningful in the context of our relationship. What I made for our first date, her bread recipe (her culinary contribution to our relationship) etc.. It was received well and inexpensive to boot.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kolgrim

                      Were you able to print directly on the parchment? I love the look of parchment and ribbon, but I don't know if printing (especially photos) works on it.

                      1. re: Pei

                        We did not do photos. But the printing wasn't a problem.

                    2. Along the idea of making your own book vs. a copy store I'd like to suggest the paper bag book. You dont have to use a paper sack but you can use long paper for a more polished look or even cut background paper to cover the sack if you use it then attach embellishments, photos, printed copy, etc. It's really cheap to make too.



                      1 Reply
                      1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                        There a digital/print on demand shops everywhere you can get a very good print job for a good price. If you are in the New Haven area I can direct you somewhere

                      2. Anything that is given with your heart will be enjoyed, no matter the topic.

                        I have made a cookbook for a friend who was going to live and work in a different continent. I bought a bound book the size of a CD and wrote down all the recipes that I have cooked for her in the short time that we were co-workers. This way she can go back and remember the good times or try to recreate the dishes at her new home.

                        1. my wife and i made small cookbooks as our christmas letter one year, and included appetizers, italian, seafood, vegetarian, and desserts. we're both designers so maybe it wasn't as daunting a task as others might view it. we just used a desktop publisher, like Adobe Indesign and Photoshop, and created/printed the books, and then had them silver wire bound at kindo's. it worked out very well, and every now and then friends or family will tell us "we tried that pasta dish from the little blue book, ...it was great". Most of the people that got the book have had the food before, so hopefully it brings memories of times we spent together. I would stick with the cookbook idea, especially if you have the time.